Tag: va senate

In-district meetings with Senators’ Offices

Friends of the International Justice Mission attended in-district meetings on August 17th, with representatives from both Senator Warner’s and Senator Webb’s offices. We went with the purpose of seeking the support from both Senators for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), S.1301, and to encourage the Senators to facilitate the passage by the full Senate as quickly as possible. This landmark, bi-partisan legislation is set to expire by the end of September.

Our first visit was with Ms. Patrice Lewis, Outreach Representative for Senator Warner, followed by a later meeting with Ms. Louise Fontaine Ware, State Director for Senator Webb.  Both women were very attentive as we explained first, the magnitude of the sex trafficking issue not only worldwide, but in the United States, as well as here in our own state of Virginia. We then went on to discuss the importance of TVPRA in that it reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, originally passed in 2000. Certain amendments to the original Act were also highlighted. The Act would mandate greater collaboration in anti-trafficking strategy by the State Department regional bureaus and the overseas U.S. Embassies. “Child Protection Compacts” would be authorized for eligible countries so that they would receive additional U.S. assistance to end child trafficking. The Act would also offer increased protection for trafficking victims here in the United States. Additional points that were discussed were one, why U.S.  tax dollars should be allocated in the fight against modern-day slavery and  two, the importance of the Trafficking in Persons Office (TIP).

We ended our meetings encouraging each of the Senators to become a co-sponsor of the TVPRA.  Both offices expressed a genuine concern regarding the issue of sex trafficking, and that they would do what they could to support TVPRA.  – Tina Nyczepir

Legislation Update – Call Your Representatives

Thank you again to all who attended our lobby day in January. We are happy to announce House Bill 2190 has passed in both the House of Delegates and Senate, but there are two bills  that still need our support. Our delegates and senators will be voting on these bills in the coming weeks, so we need everyone to call their representatives to encourage them to support the bills.

Please contact your delegate in regards to SB1453 and your senator in regards to HB1898. You can easily search for your delegate’s & senator’s contact information here. If you have any questions about how to contact your representatives please email RJI.

The bills are as follows:

HB 2190 – Passed both the House and Senate
Introduced by Delegate Ebbin

Requires the Department of Social Services to develop a plan for identifying victims of human trafficking and coordinating the delivery of services such as housing, health care, legal services, job training, education, as well as advising victims of any benefits the victim may be eligible for under Virginia or federal law.

HB1898 – Passed in the House & Pending in the Senate
Introduced by Delegate Hugo & Delegate Watts

Amends the current statutes to criminalize abduction of any person for purposes of prostitution, extend evidentiary protections to victims of human trafficking, and criminalize receiving money for causing a person to become a victim of forced labor or services, prostitution, concubinage, or the manufacture of pornography.

SB 1453 – Passed in the Senate and Pending in the House
Introduced by Senator Newman

Gives the Department of Criminal Justice Services the power and duty, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, to advise law-enforcement agencies and attorneys for the Commonwealth regarding the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking offenses using the existing criminal statutes in the Code of Virginia.